By James Hirsen
A trial is set to begin on April 13th, which has implications for the credibility of the American media and sports news figures. HBO is the defendant in a defamation lawsuit, which is headed to trial in federal court, over a 2008 episode of "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel."
During a segment of Gumbel’s show, it was reported that a sporting equipment maker, Mitre Sports International, manufactured soccer balls using child labor. Mitre makes the exclusive soccer ball of the English Premier League as well as the one used in Major League Soccer. The fundamental question in this particular legal case is whether Gumbel's cable television sports show featured a phony investigative report involving exploited child workers. The segment in question, titled "Childhood Lost," depicts children stitching soccer balls in India for 5 cents per hour or less. Mitre filed the lawsuit in the same year that the broadcast aired. The suit asks for tens of millions of dollars in damages, claiming that the segment was a "hoax" and further asserting that the content of the report was "fabricated" or "dramatized." [more...]